President Joe Biden will speak to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. If the past is any indication, the chances of a major blunder are high. Biden also tends to be more than a little petulant when things are not going well. As CBS’s Ed O’Keefe pointed out, nothing has gone well for the Biden administration in the last few weeks.
O’Keefe’s tweet doesn’t cover the Americans and greed cardholders left in Afghanistan, the Pentagon admitting that they droned an aid worker and seven children in Kabul, or the COVID-19 booster shot fiasco. Team Biden is rightly concerned about how the UN speech may go, and no one will be there to cut the mic. UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield came to the rescue with the most absurd cop-out possible.
In a press conference Friday, she said, ‘We are concerned about the U.N. event being a superspreader event, and that we need to take all measures to ensure that it does not become a superspreader event.” During the presser, she also said Biden’s attendance at the meeting would be short due to the pandemic precluding opportunities for many meetings during the General Assembly.
These statements come after images of maskless elites at Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party hit the internet. They also come after Americans gathered at college football stadiums filled to capacity for the last two weekends. There is no evidence that these were superspreader events. On Sunday night, the Emmy Awards went off at an indoor venue with no masked celebrity in sight. And of course there was the Met Gala, where there were no masks unless you were a lowly servant. The idea that anyone in elite circles is taking the mitigation steps of face coverings, social distancing, or anything else seriously anymore is absurd.
Thomas-Greenfield sent a note to diplomats and world leaders encouraging them to send videos to play throughout the General Assembly meeting. If her plea had been successful, it would have given Biden an out. He could have taken as many takes as necessary to cut together a clear and coherent speech. Technicians could have sped up the audio to make him seem energetic. It would have been polished and perfect for playing on the world stage. Note that Thomas-Greenfield wanted videos sent in. She did not request live video feeds, as we have seen throughout the pandemic for public meetings. The reason for the request is somewhat transparent.
Despite her plea, more them 100 world leaders chose to give in-person speeches. They did not just reject the appeal for videos made in advance. They are rejecting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s indoor venue vaccine mandates. The New York City health commissioner notified attendees that the General Assembly meeting is subject to the mandate. According to the Daily Mail, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro follows the science and is asserting natural immunity. Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia invoked the 1947 agreement between the U.S. and the UN that establishes the world body’s international status. So de Blasio decided to open a pop-up testing and vaccination site at UN headquarters. You can’t make this stuff up.
President Biden is fully vaccinated. If we are to believe what he told vaccinated Americans when he announced his authoritarian vaccine mandate, Biden is well protected from COVID-19. He is also well-rested after taking a long weekend at the beach while the world is on fire. Biden’s speech falls on the final day of the General Assembly meeting Tuesday. How it will go is anyone’s guess.